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Bermuda: Man arrested for HIV exposure; fifth prosecution amongst HIV population of 200

11 Nov 2009
A 44 year-old man has been arrested and charged under Bermuda’s sexual assault laws for having unprotected sex without disclosing his HIV status. There are only around 200 people living with HIV in the island nation, and yet five people … More

Bermuda: Man pleads guilty, gets 10 years for HIV exposure

15 Jun 2008
A 32 year-old HIV-positive man who had unprotected sex with his former girlfriend and then disclosed his HIV status in a break-up note, has pleaded guilty, and a Bermuda court has sentenced him to ten years in prison. This is … More

Last reviewed 01 June 2017

Specific laws

Specific law enacted Yes

Specific law criminalising HIV non disclosure, exposure, or transmission: No

Prosecuted using non-HIV specific laws: No

Prosecuted using both specific and non specific laws: No

Is non-disclosure actionable: No

Is exposure actionable: No

Is transmission actionable: No


Number of prosecutions 7


Number of convictions 4


Applicable laws


The maximum prison sentence is 20 years.

Applicable key wording

§ 324: Sexual assault by person with AIDS, etc

(1) It is a sexual assault if a person—

(a) knowing that he has a sexual disease, does a sexual act which -

(i) involves contact between any part of his body and any part of the body of another person (whether or not that other person is his spouse or consents to the act); and

(ii) is capable of resulting in the transfer of body fluids to that other person;and(b) before he does the act does not inform that other person that he has the disease, either identifying the disease or making clear to that other person that he has a disease to which section 324 of the Criminal Code applies.

(2) "Sexual disease" in subsection (1) of this section and in subsection (2) of section 325 means Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome or hepatitis B or Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) infection.

(3) This section is without prejudice to the existence of other kinds of sexual assault.


There are fewer than 200 people living with HIV in the island nation, and yet six people have been prosecuted since Bermuda passed its HIV-specific criminal law in 1993.

This gives Bermuda the unfortunate distinction of having the highest number of prosecutions per capita of PLHIV (30 per 1000) in the world.

Further reading

Latest cases and news can be found at:



The first case of alleged criminal HIV exposure was reported in February 1993, prior to the implementation of the HIV-specific law.  The man's HIV-positive status was considered an aggravated factor in a trial alleging under-age sex.  In April 1994, he was sentenced to five years for "unlawful carnal knowledge" of a girl under 16 years old. In May 1995, the first person to be prosecuted under the HIV-specific criminal law was sentenced to 14 years after pleading guilty. The female complainant was diagnosed HIV-positive soon after beginning a relationship with the 31 year-old defendant.  He admitted not disclosing his HIV-positive status, and that although they generally used condoms, they broke twice.  The court also heard evidence that the defendant was a "slow learner" and may not have fully appreciated his diagnosis.

A second conviction in 1999 where the complainant did not test positive led to a 10 year prison sentence, reduced to six years on appeal. A third man was acquitted of all charges in a 2004 trial. In June 2008, a 32 year-old HIV-positive man who had unprotected sex with his former girlfriend and then disclosed his HIV status in a break-up note was sentenced to ten years in prison following a guilty plea. A fifth case was reported in November 2009. A 44 year-old man was arrested and charged for having unprotected sex without disclosing his HIV status. The outcome is unknown. Finally, in June 2010, charges were dismissed against a 50 year-old man who was alleged to have had unproteced sex without disclosing his HIV status.

17 January 2014: Man, 23, receives three years’ probation after admitting infecting his current partner, 20, without disclosing his HIV status: A 23-year-old man who admitted having sex with his girlfriend without disclosing that he had tested positive for HIV was today put on probation for three years. The man was charged in November with sexually assaulting the 20-year-old woman; it was alleged he knew he had the virus but failed to inform her of that fact. The two are still in a relationship, one of the factors of the case considered by Senior Magistrate Archibald Warner. As part of his probation, the man must be assessed and monitored and participate in “any treatment and rehabilitation of the HIV virus and any associated medical conditions”. In sentencing the man, Mr Warner said: “For whatever reason, it seems you are reluctant or disinterested in getting help but you must cooperate.” In December, the man pleaded guilty to the charge.



Last reviewed 01 June 2017

Last reviewed 01 June 2017

Last reviewed 01 June 2017